How To Draft An MLA Essay Format Piece
It is one thing to write an essay and a completely different thing to write an essay with a specific format. You must be wondering why so? The reason is that while writing an essay, you need to focus on the content, its quality and maintain coherence in your work so that all ideas are connected well. However, when it comes to writing MLA essay format articles, there are specific rules which you should follow along with the initial guidelines provided by your college or university for reference purposes.
In this read, we will be looking at what the MLA essay format for essays is all about. So, whether you are an undergraduate student or a postgraduate one, this read will help you become a professional MLA essay format writer. Let’s get started.
What is MLA Format for Essays?
MLA refers to Modern Language Association, which is an American-based organization. The association was formed by academics and teachers of language so that there are proper guidelines followed while drafting essays or other forms of academic work. That said, below are step-by-step guidelines on how to prepare MLA essay format articles.
MLA Format Essay Structure
It is essential to understand the proper MLA essay format before embarking on writing your essay. This format is simple to follow and quite flexible. Perhaps, those are some of the reasons why many scholars and writers prefer it. That said, here are some basics of the proper MLA essay format.
- Use 1-inch margins at the bottom, top, and sides of the page.
- Use double spacing throughout.
- List all sources at the end of the paper on their own pages.
- Citations are written in this format: Author’s last name, date of publication—for example, Smith, 2006.
- The Works Cited is listed alphabetically by author’s last name. If there are two authors, then they will be listed as (first author’s last name and second author’s first initial), or if three authors then they would be listed as (first author’s last name, second author’s first initial, and third author’s last name).
- Every paragraph should have a half-inch indent for the first word.
- Leave a space after each period.
- If a website includes one author, then list the author’s last name, for example, Smith, J. (2006). If there are two authors, then list them as (first and second), and if there are three or more authors, then list only the first author followed by et al.,
Now that you know the basics of the proper MLA essay format, let us dig deeper into what it entails.
MLA cover page
As for the cover page, it is technically not a requirement for MLA essay format, but if you’re going to write a research paper, then the cover page might as well include your name, the assignment’s title, and your professor’s name, along with the due date. You would also want to include a disclaimer stating that you have used only reliable sources and cited them correctly.
MLA text formatting
It would help to start writing your research paper with 1″ margins on all four sides, double-spaced lines, and 12 pt—Times New Roman font. Your first page must be numbered in the upper right-hand corner (the header), while the rest of the pages should have their numbers on top, center. If you plan on using more than one page for an entry, indent the second paragraph by 0.5″.
MLA number formatting
Numbering is essential in academic writing, and you will most certainly need to use numbers when writing a research paper. You should include page numbers on every page of your work – both the header and footer must be marked with their correct number.
In the MLA essay format articles, the page numbers should be placed in the upper right-hand corner, along with the other elements – at the same distance from the top and side of the page.
Quotations in MLA
When writing a research paper, it is vital to have quotations from the original source. On a research paper, you should not simply put words from a text in your own words. You need to give credit to the original author.
There are three ways you can add quotes in the MLA essay format: in-text, blockquotes, or long quotes.
- In-Text Quotations– If you use an author’s exact words from the text, you should put the author’s last name and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. For example, if you were talking about how someone was feeling sad due to their recent breakup with their boyfriend, you could write, “I feel like people don’t take me seriously” (Bauer 33).
- Block Quotes: When directly quoting larger passages or multiple paragraphs from someone’s work, it is appropriate to make a blockquote. Blockquotes will indent and use double spaces between your lines. This, in turn, makes your source easy to follow. There are two acceptable ways to use footnotes or endnotes in your paper. It will really depend on what type of work it is and whether or not you feel like both would be appropriate.
- A citation in prose: This is whereby you use the author’s name followed by the page number referenced. For example, you could write, “According to Edwin Starr’s song, ‘War,’ ‘war is good for absolutely nothing at all” (Bauer 9).
Most importantly, make sure that whatever method you choose makes sense not to confuse your reader.
Abbreviations in MLA Formatting
While writing our research paper, you might need to use abbreviations to conserve space. For example, instead of writing out “United States,” you may just want to type “U.S.” But how do you properly format an abbreviation in MLA style? Some of the general abbreviation tips in MLA include the following:
- In a list of two or more works by the same author, use 3-em dashes to separate the name.
- For a bibliography entry with several words in parentheses, insert a nonbreaking space between them and the preceding word. This means you leave a space between each set of parentheses and its corresponding term.
- Do not use periods after initials when abbreviating terms such as Ph.D. or Sr. * When alphabetizing by title, ignore initial A, An, or The.
- Use italics for titles of books and underlining for titles of articles within a book (or vice versa). Periodicals are presented in quotation marks rather than emphasized.
Images and Tables in MLA
When writing a paper, you might need to include some images and tables. These need to follow the MLA essay format as well. If these images and tables have a number or letter associated with them, simply provide this number or letter in brackets after the image’s location heading.
If you use an image from a website, just provide the URL in brackets. Additionally, if you use a table from a book or journal, list the author’s name after the title and page number of where you found it. You should also keep track of any images and tables that you use to cite them appropriately.
Why use the MLA format?
There are many essay formats that you can choose to follow. MLA essay format template is the most popular one among them. Below are some of the reasons why;
- It is simple to follow- Some articles might be hard to follow due to the formatting. But not with the MLA article format template. It is straightforward.
- It is thorough- This format provides minute details of every aspect that you need to follow when writing an essay or any paper for that matter. Unlike other formats, you will never miss out on any detail if you use this citation style, where missing out on little things can negatively affect your entire work.
- Easy to read- MLA essay format template helps write easy-to-find paragraphs that are linked together logically, thus making it very easy to read and understand by someone who does not know what you have written or explained before in your paper or essay.
- The MLA essay format follows guidelines- The MLA citation format is in line with general guidelines or rules, unlike other citation styles. You can find out more about this on the internet.
- The efficient way of writing your paper- MLA essay format template helps writers organize their thoughts better; thus, they can write their essays quickly and efficiently without wasting time finding proper words or phrases for their research paper.
- It makes the essay look more organized and structured- MLA format articles look very appealing and well structured, inviting the reader to read more of it.
- You can easily track errors in your work- This format allows you to see the overall structure of your work/paper; hence you can find errors quickly.
- You can write work in any discipline – MLA essay format articles are widely employed across various disciplines of study, making them easy to implement without having any special knowledge of writing style for a particular field.
In summary, a proper MLA essay format is an excellent tool for writers and allows them to format their work uniformly. While it may take a little time to get used to formatting your research, with practice, you will find that the MLA style is efficient and straightforward.